Study looks at withdrawal in pot and tobacco smokers

In a “first of its kind” study researchers compared the symptoms of cigarette smokers to pot smokers.  Researchers discovered that pot smokers experience many of the same problems when trying to quit, including irritability, sleeplessness and anger.

While withdrawal from cigarettes is well documented, withdrawal from pot smoking is not.  This small study could give doctors insight into future treatments.

The results
“These results indicate that some marijuana users experience withdrawal effects when they try to quit, and that these effects should be considered by clinicians treating people with problems related to heavy marijuana use,” says lead investigator in the study, Ryan Vandrey, Ph.D., of the Department of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

And interesting twist
This 12 person study conducted by scientist at Johns Hopkins also revealed an interested piece of information.  People using both tobacco and cannabis said it was easier to quit both substance than it was to quit each one individually.

“Given the general consensus among clinicians that it is harder to quit more than one substance at the same time, these results suggest the need for more research on treatment planning for people who concurrently use more than one drug on a regular basis,” says Vandrey.

How the study worked
Researchers followed six men and six women at the University of Vermont in Burlington and Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., for a total of six weeks. All were over 18 and used marijuana at least 25 days a month and smoked at least 10 cigarettes a day.  Each participant was asked to refrain from using one substance or another, or sometimes asked to stop using both at the same time.  Withdrawal symptoms were recorded, which included: aggression, anger, appetite change, depressed mood, irritability, anxiety/nervousness, restlessness, sleep difficulty, strange dreams, and at what level people wanted to return to the habit.

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